First palliative care handbook in Serbia
Serbia has published its first palliative care handbook for undergraduates, developed by experts working on the EU-funded project ‘Development of Palliative Care Services in the Republic of Serbia’, in conjunction with professors and lecturers from the different medical schools in Serbia. The book was officially approved by Medical Faculties as a course book for undergraduate medical studies programmes.
The handbook is organised under the same sections as the theoretical teaching of the course. These include:
- Principles of palliative care;
- Pain and symptom management;
- Psychosocial and spiritual aspects;
- Ethical and legal issues;
- Teamwork and self-reflection.
Recently Serbia became the first country in Europe to accredit a palliative care course for social workers – one of the other impacts of the EU-funded project.
One of the key features of the course is that it tailors the core competencies and principles of palliative care social work to the different settings in which Serbian social workers operate, based on an analysis carried out by the consortium.
Initially social workers attend basic courses alongside their colleagues from the health sector. This is followed by a specialised two-day course in palliative care social work. Early conversations with the Institute for Social Protection (ISP) in Serbia, the main body for ensuring quality control of social work education, highlighted that accrediting the course would ensure that social workers were able to use the training towards ongoing licensing requirements introduced by law into Serbia in 2011. Importantly, this will also ensure that the course will be institutionalised as part of the social work training in Serbia. The ISP accredited the course in September 2012.
The course was created as part of the EU-funded Development of Palliative Care Services in the Republic of Serbia project.